Object Lesson


This Job Just Keeps Getting Better

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I love my job. Every issue of ARCHITECT gives me and my fellow editors the chance to challenge myths about the profession; promote noteworthy ideas, projects, and people; and, perhaps most gratifyingly, cook a few sacred cows. In architecture, Lord knows, there are plenty of cows worth cooking.

In the 100-year-plus history of architectural journalism, how many editors have profiled the in-house designer for a fast-food chain (“Shaking Up the Storefront”), much less put him on the cover? I'm guessing here, but I think it's safe to say that few of my counterparts or predecessors have—and, what's more, many would recoil at the thought.

Design magazine editors are snobs. It's in the job description. I should know. I spent the better part of a decade at Architecture magazine sorting project submissions into two piles: “fabulous” and “hideous.” The “fabulous” pile contained few projects that weren't museums or libraries or high-end residences.

Now ARCHITECT gives me the opportunity to broaden my definition of fabulous. The mix is everything. Therefore, in this issue, you'll see academic practices like Office dA and hanrahanMeyers architects sharing space with the in-house design teams for Chipotle and Central Market, a Texas-based grocery store chain. Better yet, one of the three Office dA projects we're covering is a gas station.

Looks like I'm not the only one whose definition of fabulous is changing.

A fundamental promise of the modern design movement was to build architecture for the benefit of the masses. It's one of the most noble ideas that's emerged in the profession's 4,600-year history. ARCHITECT endeavors to fulfill this populist promise with every issue—as part of our core mission. After all, don't fast-food restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores affect people's lives just as much as a spectacular museum? For editors—and for architects—to ignore the everyday is to ignore a basic responsibility.

Chew over that for a minute.


Comments (2 Total)

  • Posted by: anwana1 | Time: 11:01 AM Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    "This Job Just Keeps Getting Better" :Good..

    Report this as offensive

  • Posted by: derick.allen | Time: 7:07 PM Saturday, August 18, 2007

    Maybe do a article on these unique storage units designed for basement parking areas. Developers will love this... I saw these in Cape Town South Africa. www.batbox.co.za

    Report this as offensive

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About the Blogger

Ned Cramer

thumbnail image Ned Cramer is editor-in-chief of ARCHITECT, and editorial director of ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING, ECO-STRUCTURE, and METALMAG, published by Hanley Wood, a Washington, D.C.-based business media company. Prior to joining Hanley Wood, Cramer served as the first full-time curator of the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), where he organized public programs and exhibitions such as "A Century of Progress: Chicago's 1933-34 World's Fair" and "New Federal Architecture: The Face of a Nation." At CAF, projects under Cramer's direction received support from foundations and corporations such as Altria, Boeing, the Driehaus Foundation, the Graham Foundation, and the McCormick-Tribune Foundation. He speaks regularly on architecture, design, and related issues. The Avery Architectural Index lists nearly 100 articles with Cramer's byline, many written in his former capacity as executive editor of Architecture magazine. The recipient of an Arts Administration Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Cramer has held positions at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Menil Collection in Houston. Cramer is an alumnus of the Rice University School of Architecture. He was born and raised in St. Louis.